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Uncovering Grangegorman Histories for Culture Night 2020

24 September 2020

Listen to the little-known story of the recovery and restoration of the records from the hospitals associated with the Grangegorman site.  These records document the lives of the people and the practices employed there from 1814 onwards.

Topics discussed

Why are these records so important?  How were they recovered and restored?  What do they tell us?  Where were the records found, where are they located now and who can access them?  And how can they challenge the historical stigma of mental illness and support the transformative process towards a progressive and compassionate approach to mental health and mental illness in Ireland in the future?


  • Dr Philip Cohen, Chair, Grangegorman Histories Working Group
  • Brian Donnelly, Senior Archivist with the National Archives. Working with the National Archives since 1981, Brian has been involved with the archives at Grangegorman for at least 30 years.
  • Dr Kirsten Mulrennan, Dr Mulrennan qualified as an archivist in 2009. Over the past 11 years, she has worked in a range of different archives services, including the National Archives, the Military Archives and ESB Archives, and has served as an Occasional Lecturer on the MA in Archives and Records Management at UCD. In 2013, Kirsten was awarded Ireland’s first PhD in Archivistics at UCD, entitled ‘Issues in archiving historic medical records in Ireland’, which was funded by the Irish Research Council. During this time, she spent a year onsite at Grangegorman conducting a case study of its records, the findings from which were published in the edited collection ‘Archives and Archivists 2’, by Four Courts Press. Kirsten is now the Archivist for Outreach and Engagement at the Special Collections and Archives Department at the University of Limerick
  • Ray Keane, a former manager in the mental health and addiction services at St Brendan’s Hospital for a period of about 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Ray retired in 2001. He was involved in discovering and recovering of documents from the hospital site both before and after his retirement.

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